Trio arrested after beating driver with bat and stealing his car

June 20, 2002

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Three Huntsville juveniles have been arrested after bludgeoning a Papa John's pizza delivery driver with a baseball bat and stealing his car.

According to The Huntsville Times, delivery driver Barry Lynn Schrader, 57, of Taft, Tenn., was in critical condition at Huntsville Hospital. He received two life-threatening skull fractures during the June 18 late-night attack.

The suspects, Kenneth Gerald Knabenshue, 17, Billy Joe Hawkins, 16, and Christa June Bott, 17, were charged as adults by Huntsville police on June 19 with first-degree robbery and attempted murder.

Officials say the trio devised a scheme to order a pizza, attack the delivery driver and steal a vehicle.

Employees at the Papa John's store where Schrader worked became concerned after a customer called and asked why his pizza hadn't arrived.

The employees directed police to Schrader's last delivery destination, where they found him behind some apartments.

Driving Schrader's car, the teens ran out of gas in Scottsboro, Ala. Shortly after, Scottsboro police arrested them, just hours after the attack.

"(Schrader) is a really nice old man. He's like a grandfather to everyone here," said Leslee Garvey, a Papa John's assistant manager. She said Schrader would have given up the car without a struggle. "They didn't have to beat him," she said.

If Schrader were to die, Huntsville police say the charges would be upgraded to capital murder since the suspects allegedly stole Schrader's car. If convicted of that charge, the teens could face either life in prison or the death penalty.

Topics: Crime

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